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21 undergraduate students selected for Blue Waters Student Internship Program

Shodor and the Blue Waters project have selected 21 undergraduate students from across the country to participate in the Blue Waters Student Internship Program for 2014-2015.

“The Blue Waters project is committed to preparing undergraduate and graduate students to be the future innovators and leaders in the applications of petascale computing in all fields of study,” says Bill Kramer, principal investigator for the Blue Waters project at NCSA.

Interns will gain experience in the application of high-performance computing to problems in science, mathematics, and engineering through the year-long internship program. They recently participated in a two-week Petascale Institute, during which they were given access to the Blue Waters supercomputer, to help bootstrap their projects.

William Leverette, an intern from the University of Missouri in Kansas City, says he recently talked to company representatives at a job fair about his upcoming internship.

“When I told them I’d be doing this, they started handing me their business cards,” says Leverette, “and started calling hiring managers to look for a place for me next summer.”

“They’ve presented everything really well, and I know we’ve all learned tons while we’re here,” says Colleen Heinemann, an intern from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.

Some of the students will continue to use Blue Waters for their research projects throughout their internship. Additionally, they will receive a $5,000 stipend and will travel to the Blue Waters Symposium in 2015 to present results from their research.

Princeton University Press provided each intern with a copy of Introduction to Computational Science: Modeling and Simulation for the Sciences (Second Edition) by Angela and George Shiflet, featuring materials developed by faculty and previous Blue Waters interns.

“I’m going to absolutely devour the chapter on Markov chains,” says Jorge Valles Pesquera, an intern from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez.

The interns were selected through extensive review of over 60 competitive applications from across the country:

  • Sharon Itzkoff, University of Mary Washington, and Alexander Priest, University of Mary Washington, will collaborate to identify molecules that could potentially be helpful in treating or curing certain diseases and then generate better potential drug molecules.
  • Kristin Muterspaw, Earlham College, will be engineering software modifications for Mothur, a bioinformatics package, to enable the analysis tools to work more accurately in petascale.
  • Ruth Catlett, University of Mary Washington, will update a working curriculum module to compile and run on Blue Waters.
  • Cameron Foss, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, will be developing numerical codes and methods for the simulation of nanoscale energy transport and conversion to solve the Boltzmann transport equation.
  • Hector Hernandez, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, and Jorge Valles, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, will work together with their mentor to study problems and applications to develop educational modules designed for parallel environments.
  • William Leverette, University of Missouri at Kansas City, will be implementing performance profiling tools into parallelized structure and then analyzing the data produced by these tools.
  • Matthew McCoy, Bluffton University, will further develop, analyze, and test Monte Carlo and Kinetic Monte Carlo simulations to run on local clusters and Blue Waters.
  • Morgan Smith, Mississippi State University, will be setting up and simulating a global climate-scale Weather Research and Forecasting model simulation to identify intraseasonal modes and analyze their accuracies.
  • Matthew LePain, Georgia Southern University, will be developing a highly parallelized computational approach to predict electromagnetic field distributions in novel structures for optimized optoelectric, photonic, and nanotechnology devices.
  • Vivek Chavda, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will be working to develop parallel and scalable equations for solving the acoustic wave equation.
  • James Lancaster III, Winston-Salem State University, and Colleen Heinemann, Bradley University, will collaborate to learn, use, and improve existing supercomputing curriculum for Blue Waters.
  • Deborah Gulledge, Austin Peay State University, will be writing code to automate the reduction and analysis of small astronomical data sets.
  • Daniel Piero, Bluffton University, will assist faculty in simulating, visualizing and analyzing sounds waves.
  • Aaron Herridge, University of Houston Clear Lake, will help develop and profile cellular automita simulations of seismic elastodynamics to improve execution times, memory accesses, and power efficiencies.
  • Matthew Beasley, Wofford College, will develop additional materials for the Introduction to Computational Science: Modeling and Simulation for the Sciences (Second Edition) to be publically available of the text’s website.
  • George Lees, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, will work to update existing curriculum models to run more efficiently on Blue Waters.
  • Sarah Holt-Gosselin, Norwich University, and Yirong Liu, University of California-Berkley, will collaborate to develop and improve existing high performance computing curriculum for use on Blue Waters.

“Through the efforts of the Shodor and Blue Waters teams, we are preparing a larger and more diverse community of students, and motivating them to pursue advanced studies and science and engineering careers,” says Kramer.

Up to one percent of the computing capacity of Blue Waters is available for educational efforts aimed at preparing the next generation of students and teachers and an educated workforce. The goal of the Blue Waters Student Internship Program and the education allocation is to provide unique learning experiences for these students across a wide array of traditional and emerging disciplines.

“[This program] definitely opens up your way of thinking of how to tackle a problem,” says Leverette.

Blue Waters, supported by the National Science Foundation and the University of Illinois, is one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers and the fastest on a university campus. In collaboration with Blue Waters, Shodor and the National Computational Science Institute provide support and content for the internship program and Petascale Institute. Shodor, a national resource for computational science education, is located in Durham, North Carolina, and serves students and educators nationwide.

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